Perdido Bay Baptist is a Southern Baptist church.
What does that mean?
- There is much to the theological, historical, and philosophical foundations of the Southern Baptists. This in no way is a comprehensive study, but it is our hope to explore the basics on this page.
What Southern Baptist is NOT.
- Being Southern Baptist does not bring salvation. It is only through belief in Jesus Christ that one can obtain salvation. If being Southern Baptist ever becomes more important than being a follower of Christ then we may need to re-evaluate the church.
- Southern Baptist is not a religion. Our religion, our faith, is Christian, or followers of Christ. We are believers in Jesus Christ and it is only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that we can obtain salvation. Southern Baptist is a denomination, a division, of evangelical Christians. We are divided by certain doctrines that in the end do not change our eternal destination as we all are united in our belief in Jesus Christ.
Did you read the words “evangelical” Christians? There are many mainline churches that are not evangelical in their faith. What does it mean to be evangelical? Evangelical churches believe in the following:
- The authority and inerrancy of scripture.
- Regeneration, new birth, or salvation through Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life.
- It is important to proclaim our beliefs to other people; or evangelize.
The following are some things evangelical denominations agree to disagree upon:
- Governance/ polity
- Baptism- Especially the mode.
- Lords Supper- who can take it?
- Sovereignty of God v. freewill of man
- Certain spiritual gifts
- Security of salvation
We do see a danger of denominations. First, there is no scriptural mandate for this type of separation. Further, history tells us that denominations are birthed out of conflict which led to division and separation. It is important to see evangelical denominations as diversity rather than disunity. We are Southern Baptist, but other evangelical Christian denominations are part of the universal church, and as such we are called to be unified in Christ. It is important that we seek unity for the sake of the Gospel rather than see our brothers and sisters of other evangelical churches as opponents.
- Luther and Calvin were big names that led to the reformation, where protestants separated from the catholic church where the roots of the Baptist church began.
- British Baptists existed back in the 1600s.
- Modern Baptist arose out of English Separatism in the late 1700s-early 1800s.
- Missions and cooperation has always been a big part of the Baptist denomination throughout history. Uniting and forming associations for the work of ministry is a big part of Baptist history.
- 1814 Baptists in America formed the General Missionary Convention.
- Northern and southern Baptist separated in the mid 1840s due to the organizational model. The southern Baptist envisioned a more denominationally united missions focused association and the northern Baptists desired an anti-denominational autonomous society structure.
- May 8, 1845 drafted a new constitution and gave birth to the Southern Baptist Convention.
So what is the Southern Baptist Convention?
- The actual “convention” only exists two days a year, when the convention is convened in June and messengers from Southern Baptists churches across the world are invited gather in a big business meeting.
The SBC consists of eight entities that carry out SBC business:
- SBC Executive Committee
- Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
- International Mission Board
- North American Mission Board
- Guidestone Financial Christian Resources
- Lifeway Christian Resources
- Theological Seminaries
- Women’s Missionary Union
Southern Baptist churches are organized by state conventions, and then by regional associations. Perdido Bay Baptist is part of the Pensacola Bay Baptist Association and Florida Baptist Convention.
So what is a Southern Baptist Church?
Southern Baptist Churches share the following characteristics as they are:
- Evangelical- Evangelical means we are under the authority of Scripture. Southern Baptists are said to be “people of the book.”
- Voluntary- Individual Accountability before God. Voluntarism refers to the philosophical belief that it is the will not the intellect that is the fundamental principle of salvation. Salvation is not merely a matter of knowledge. In Baptist life volunteerism deals with:
- Soul competency- Every person is accountable to God. There will be judgment and all people will have to give an account.
- Priesthood of all believers- It means that the church has an every-member ministry. We all have a spiritual gift and we are supposed to use it in the church in order to grow the church for the Kingdom of Heaven. Further, as a community of believers, in submission to the word of God, and under authority of Jesus Christ, we have the right to define for ourselves the interpretation of scripture and its doctrinal perimeters, UNDER the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
- Believer’s baptism- Baptism is not salvation, but an obedient step that is a public confession through the symbolic act. The Great Commission tells us to Go, make disciples, BAPTIZING them. We baptise by immersion because of biblical interpretation and biblical example. We do not observe baptism of infants.
- Regenerate church membership- We believe you must be reborn through faith in Jesus and receive water baptism to join the church. Your membership in a local church means nothing outside of faith in Christ. Membership to PBBC outside of a personal relationship to Jesus Christ will not get you into heaven.
- Congregational- Local Church Autonomy Under Christ. Many denominations experience a top down style of church governance known as the Presbyterianism. The decisions for many of this style of churches are usually made outside of the congregation and passed down to the people. There are usually less church issues in this type of governance. We are in control of what we do as an autonomous Southern Baptist church. Everyone has a say. It’s like a democracy. It is important in business meetings to maintain a focus of Christ or we allow self to get in the way. Sometime we must agree to disagree and when the discussion is over we are all united. Where there is unity there is power.
- Missional- Church’s Great Assignment is the Great Commission. This is where being Southern Baptist really focuses on cooperation. With over 46,000 churches that make up the SBC, we come together to support mission work through our associations, state conventions, and Southern Baptist Convention. Our resources by ourselves can do very little, forcing missionaries to seek partnerships to help fund their ministries. Through the Cooperative Program we support and our missionaries, who go through very intense screening and training, who are able to focus 100% on their missions. The majority of our funding sent to the Southern Baptist Convention goes to the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board. Each church in the beginning was encouraged to support 10% of undesignated funding. As autonomous churches we are able to decide how much to give. As tough times hit economies churches tend to withdraw their support from the cooperative program to support things at home. We are currently increased our support to the CP, and we have challenged ourselves to raise that commitment over time. When we withdraw funding we also withdraw those who are doing the work of the gospel from the mission field. Being Southern Baptist just really means that we cooperate with other churches that love Jesus Christ and hold to scripture as their guide. Scripture surpasses bylaws and denominationalism. This is who we are.